On November 8th, 2017, the Young Leaders Group Programs Committee hosted “Sirens, Squash, and Stacks” with a tour of Westlight and the Square 50 project in the West End neighborhood of Washington, DC. The Westlight (2301 L Street NW) and Square 50 (2233 M Street NW) were developed by EastBanc and JBG Smith through a unique joint public/private partnership with the District. Designed by internationally-acclaimed architect Enrique Norten, the Westlight features a dramatic cantilevered glass building façade and prominent architectural features that highlight the project’s floor to ceiling windows. Participants of the well-attended event toured multiple components of the development in small groups led by the Young Leaders Group members, exploring the luxurious condo model unit, expansive roof-top amenity and pool area, and the DC public library branch located on the ground floor. Each stop of the tour was narrated by partners and stakeholders of the project–including the developer, designers, and library directors—giving attendees the opportunity to understand why buyers were lined up overnight for condos, and learn more about programming at the city’s newest library. West End Library is the first to open under the guidance of the District’s new Chief Librarian, Richard Reyes-Gavilan, and features a technology-forward attitude with e-books and accommodations for mobile devices, and a coffee shop.
The tour hosts included:
Jen Webber, Development Manager at EastBanc (Westlight and Square 50 developer)
Sean Stadler, Managing Principal at WDG Architecture (building Architect of Record)
Daniel Chapman, CORE architecture + design (library interior designer)
Jasprent Pahwa, Assistant Director, Capital Planning & Construction at DC Public Library)
Mei Mei Venners and the Westlight Condo Sales Staff
The tour was followed by a brief presentation at Squash on Fire—located in the Square 50 building on the adjacent block—with delicious appetizers and drinks surrounded by the energic ambiance of the squash games and music. Philippe Lanier of EastBanc provided a summary of the vision of Squash on Fire, describing the concept and functionality of the space and the building. Lanier also explained how the West End neighborhood is the perfect location for Square 50—also a public/private development partnership comprised of affordable housing units and a public squash gym over a fire station. All event participants then had the opportunity to regroup with the other tours and network. Those who attended learned more about the challenges and opportunities of developing mixed use buildings that include public uses—such as a library and a fire station—with many questions about the future of DC civic amenities and public land use trending towards more public/private integration.